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Baseboard Heating

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Baseboard Heating Cold Baseboard Pipes

The Home Wizard app calculates your ideal home care program to avoid problems with your Baseboard Heating, but sometimes trouble can still occur. Here are answers to questions about baseboard heating cold baseboard pipes.

QUESTION FROM Frustrated and Cold

We have a boiler system with baseboard vents. The problem we are having is all the pipes in the baseboards on the second floor are completely cold. So far to try and remedy the situation, we added water to the system as the pressure was reading low (10), we have released the air from the main pipes connected to the boiler and released all the air in the baseboard pipes on the second floor. The water pressure is now at 15 and water is now flowing through the pipes upstairs but its cold water. No heat is getting upstairs while the pipes on the first floor are hot. Is there something else we should be trying or have missed?


Dear 'Frustrated and Cold':

You definitely did the right things by first adding water to get the pressure in the system up, and by also purging out all of the air from your system.

If one zone in a baseboard heating system is cold, and you have already purged the air out of this zone, then the next things to check are whether:

1) Your circulation pump for this zone has gone bad and is not circulating enough hot water.

2) The check valve in this zone is partially stuck, and is reducing the flow rate of hot water (you might be lucky enough to solve this problem with some raps on the valve with a piece of wood, NOT a hammer).

3) The thermostat for this zone has gone bad.

However, when you say that the water is flowing through the pipes upstairs, but its cold, are you sure that the water is actually circulating through the second floor zone at full rates? In the case of items 1 and 2 above, water would be flowing, but at a reduced rate, and as such, you would expect the second floor pipes to be at least slightly warm, but not completely cold. Whereas with item 3 above, there would not be water flowing at all, since the thermostat would not be working properly, and therefore not be calling for heat (i.e., turning on the furnace and circulation pump for this zone).

Can you tell from listening to your pipes near your furnace whether the water circulating in this zone sounds like it is flowing similar to your other zone?

FOLLOW-UP FROM Frustrated and Cold

Thanks for the suggestions.

I had a technician come out. He determined it was the pump. The way he determined this was by determining which pipe in the basement was cold. It was the return pipe. He then proceeded to turn the valve on this pipe. Hot water flowed through. Once he turned the valve off cold water started flowing through again. As a second opinion could that be enough to diagnose the pump. I don't want to spend money on something if its not going to correct the problem.


Dear 'Frustrated and Cold':

If I understand you, it sounds like the technician was able to bypass the circulation pump on the zone that goes to your second floor, and use the circulation pump from the other zone to push the water through this zone.

But did the technician also check to see if the circulation pump was not turning on because of a bad thermostat or loose wiring on the pump? Either of these could be preventing the circulation pump from turning on, even if the pump was good.

Hope this is helpful.

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Baseboard Heating